“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It's like riding a bicycle or typing. If you're willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” - Brian Tracy
A very large part of getting your communications infrastructure right, is taking the time to understand what your options are. This book has walked you through a lot of what you need to know about business telephone systems.
Now, it is up to you to make the right choice. This means deciding on the right vendor for your company, who the best manufacturer is and whether you want to buy or lease the equipment you need to set up your business.
Before you have even decided on the right business telephone system, you will have to find a good phone system vendor to help you make those decisions. This is why choosing the best vendor is even more important than choosing the right system.
As you have discovered, phone systems can range from basic to horrendously complex, so you will need an informed, experienced vendor to help you put together a system that matches your exact requirements. This is how you should find a decent vendor.
- Look for on-site installation and training: Your phone system vendor should install your chosen system for you in a timeous and professional manner. Once this is done, they need to test it, and then train your staff to use it.
- Look for years of experience: Your phone vendor needs to be familiar with setting up your system – so familiar that if there are any concerns or problems, they are spotted immediately.
- Look for constant support: Support comes in many forms, but with phone vendors you want telephonic support, training support and continuous updates for your hardware and software as time goes by.
- Look for references and social proof: The best telephone system vendors are the ones that are proud of what they do. They post customer reviews online and syndicate references and testimonials on their social pages for you to see.
- Look for a well-known company: Companies that are well-known are easier to trust because they tend to do a good job. Smaller companies often get away with poor work, bad service and zero support. You do not want that!
Choosing the Best Manufacturer
Always buy from a name you know. Never trust your business to a manufacturer you’ve never heard of. There are dozens of small independent manufacturers with limited resourses, few dealers, and products that may look good, but don’t last the industry standard 12-15 years. Stick with a name you know.
It’s critical that you buy a brand that has lots of dealers in your area. There should be no fewer than 5 dealers within reasonable distance. This ensures you’ll always be able to get prompt, competitively priced service for many years. If you buy a system from a no name brand company with only one dealer in your area, you will have no where to turn if you ever have a problem with that dealers responsiveness or pricing.
Service from your business telephone system vendor may be superb, but if your hardware or software has problems, you are going to end up losing money. That is why it is important that you choose the best manufacturer of business telephone systems available.
There are many brands on the market that offer telephony solutions, you need to take a hard look at all of them and decide which one will be the most reliable (and affordable) for your company. Then your equipment will be as good as your service.
- In order to find a manufacturer that suits your needs, you first have to know what those needs are. That means making a list of the functionality that you must have in your business telephone system and cross checking it with available functions on all of the major manufacturer websites.
- Compare pricing of each manufacturer. Sometimes a brand will be excellent, but far too expensive for a small business. You will need to balance what you can spend, with what you need – and see if there is a quality manufacturer that offers both.
- See what sort of relationship your vendor has with your manufacturer. If they have a great relationship, your vendor will always be stocked with parts, updates and extras that will make your life easier.
- See which manufacturers offer the best warranties over time. Some offer one year, others two, or five years. If you can see your business scaling up very quickly, then you will not need a five-year warranty because your phone system will be upgraded by then.
- All manufacturers must have a reputation as being reliable, fast and customer-centric. This will make it easier to have things fixed when they break, or to find replacement parts for emergency situations.
The best manufacturer for you will be the one that suits your specialized needs. Some manufacturers are better at creating components for small businesses than others. You just need to put in some time, and do the research to uncover who they are.
Purchasing vs. Leasing
Once you have settled on your business telephone systems vendor and manufacturer, you will need to decide whether you want to buy your equipment or lease it from these companies. As usual, only you can determine which suits you best.
This purchasing or leasing decision will come up during the consultation phase of choosing your business telephone system. You have to keep in mind that by today’s standards, equipment goes out of date very fast. Even though your system will work well and last, it may not be helping your business move forward if you do not upgrade.
- Shorter product life cycles. A new telephone system may be replaced as quickly as a few months after it has hit the market, because of increasing momentum in the advancement of communications technology. This makes leasing a viable option. Not true, most phone system are built to last 10 to 15 years. Unless you plan on having explosive growth buying or leasing to own ($1 buy out) is better and usually costs only a little more than a true lease/rent.
- Leasing a business telephone system may be highly cost-effective and the ideal alternative to buying. It is even cheaper than buying second-hand equipment, and the company you’re leasing it from will fix it if it breaks. Not true, the lease has nothing to do with the warranty
- Alternatively you can lease a new business telephone system with the intent to buy it at the end of the leasing period. Then you will need to pay a ‘fair market value’ price for it, which will save you money and start-up costs. Not true, the most popular lease is a $1 buy out lease.
- If you want to own the business telephone system so that it becomes an asset of your business, then buying a system could work to your advantage. This is especially true if you plan on selling it a year or two later.
- There are many different types of leasing, and they all serve to get you up and running with the best business telephone system—only you do not have to pay for it outright. You pay the leasing fee until your term is up.
There is an old saying that goes ‘buy what appreciates, rent what depreciates.’ You can use this piece of advice for business telephone systems if you just do not have the money for an outright purchase. With all the different leasing models and payment plans out there, there is no reason why your business cannot afford to have the best system on the market.